In 2014 the Jewish-American author and former Wall Street Journal reporter wrote “Life, Animated” about his autistic son, Owen Suskind, who was 20 years old at the time. It depicted how the Suskind family — including Ron, his wife Cornelia, and their older son Walter — used Disney movies to connect with Owen.
From Prince Charming to Peter Pan, Mowgli to the Little Mermaid, Owen has loved watching Disney movies since childhood. But after he stopped talking at the age of three, animated films became an unexpectedly important way for the Suskind family to connect with him. The family even employed this mode of communication at his bar mitzvah — although in that case it was a Universal film, not a Disney one.
“Owen, once he got speech, would say it over and over again, like a song. It made him feel centered. We would sing with him. He would say a certain line, ‘Knowledge and wisdom,’ from ‘The Sword in the Stone,'” Suskind said.
“It was a progression,” he said. “You knew he was feeling his way.”
The year after Owen’s “juicer-voice” breakthrough, he repeated a second phrase — “Beauty lies within,” from “Beauty and the Beast.”
As he started rediscovering his voice through Disney, he identified with sidekicks such as Iago, the Gilbert Gottfried-voiced parrot from “Aladdin,” and Sebastian, the talking lobster of “The Little Mermaid.”
Suskind writes in the book that in “American Tail” Feivel “has lots of sidekicks helping him fulfill his destiny, most of them among a set of Jews/mice that pretty much match — mouse for Jew — my ancestors who came through Ellis Island. After several viewings, this offered a strong opening hand: ‘The Jews, Owen, have always been history’s sidekicks.’ That, he definitely got!”
Fascinating Interview with Owen Suskind
PART 2 HERE
Source Article: TimesofIsrael
YouTube Source: YouTube